The optimism sweeping through Southern Sudan over the just-concluded referendum to determine the country's political destiny has infused hope in 15-year-old street child Ajal Kaba, who hopes life will take a turn for the better should the country vote to secede. Kaba spoke to IRIN about his aspirations:
"Originally, I am from Kapaweti area, near the border with Kenya. My parents lost all their livestock in the civil war [between Northern and Southern Sudan] and could no longer manage to feed us. That is why I came to Juba, where at least I get some food from the Somalis who live in the city.
"We [street children] suffer a lot on these streets. The wound you see on my face is a result of being beaten by mujrims [gangsters] who wanted to grab something I had.
"I am often with other street children; we are a mixed group, some of us lost their parents during the struggle [the longest African civil war running from 1956 to 2005 between the Sudan People's Liberation Army and the national army of Sudan] while some of us ran away from their parents.
"I have been in Juba for a while now and I hope things will change after the referendum; I hope that the future government of Southern Sudan will give us a better life and an education.
"I am grateful to the people who give me food sometimes; at least I know they are very nice people.
"I hope my life will change for the better after the referendum."
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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